Falling into Vermont

I’m just going to pretend it hasn’t been ten months since I last posted and jump right in….

 

We’re loving our new home in Vermont!

It was only recently, that I learned a little tidbit about the state we now call home.  Vermont is known as the green mountain state (that was known), and was first claimed by explorer Samuel de Champlain for France in 1609.  It’s name is derived from the French words, vert for green and mont for mountain.  Though the mountains I see off in the distance from my porch take on more blueish/purple hue.  Guess it depends on the time of day.

Vermont’s maple syrup production is the highest in the US.  As a consequence of being surrounded by maple syrup, our consumption is the highest its ever been too.  Instead of sugar, its maple syrup.  Maple syrup in our coffee or tea, on toast, on bacon in kolaches.  Just eating by the spoonfuls…Every. Day.   We’re eager to tap our grand maple when the time comes.

Autumn arrived rather late, or so it seemed to us.  The leaves weren’t really “popping” as everyone had said they would around the end of September.  That, and the temperatures reached near 90F for a few days!   The Chef’s Mama had come from Texas to see the spectacle and was left rather disappointed.  It wasn’t until we had a few frosty mornings that the trees finally decided to put on a show.  This came literally hours after the Chef’s mother’s plane took off bound for Texas.  Within a day after she left, we began to see the most brilliant display of red, orange and yellow trees.  I took a walk one day down our dirt road to see what I could capture with my lens.

These were taken just a few days ago, yet the leaves have already turned even more vivid colors since then.  I feel as though I can’t get out there enough! Just simply overnight they transform.

 

And a little recap of summer:

Strawberry picking at Hartshorn Organic Farm.  Little Pear was over the moon with all the strawberries.  Handfuls over handfuls into her mouth.  So much so, that her fingers and face were covered with their sweet red juice.   We’ve also had many raspberry and blueberry picking trips up to our neighbor’s garden that was documented via Instagram.

Hopefully it’s not spring before I post again, but just in case it is….I leave you with these photos of our late spring blooming wildflowers.

xoxo,

TTP

 

Sixth Blog Birthday

January 1st marked the 6th blog birthday for The Traveling Pear.  A day that came and went like most days as of late.  Our days are filled with just living life with our little pear, and occasional roadtrips.

In June we took a trip to Eastern Oregon and crisscrossed the old wagon ruts of the famous Oregon Trail.

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John Day River valley, eastern Oregon

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Mount Hood

Our most unique two nights of the trip were spent in the bunkhouse of the Triple H Homestead in the middle of NOWHERE eastern Oregon.  We had no cell phone coverage, television or even a radio for three days, and it was amazing! We dined on farm raised beef, pork, and fresh fruits and veggies.  Even had fresh milk, cheese and butter from the farm to fill our bellies every morning.  Rose and Darrell, who operate the homestead, were the most gracious and accommodating hosts.  Ella even had her first encounter with a pig!

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Triple H Homestead

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We ventured to the Painted Hills and marveled at the colorful landscapes of mint green, burnt orange, yellows and red.

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On route back home we found the most brilliant blue natural pool along the McKenzie River known as the Tamolitch Blue Pool.  A four mile round trip hike along the McKenzie River Trail leads to a point where the river flows up from underground, through a lava flow and forms this incredibly gorgeous, but very frigid crystal pool.

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Tamolitch Pool along the McKenzie River

Our vacation ended with a stay in an RV on the outskirts of Bend, Oregon.  Our view of the Three Sisters Mountains was beautiful.

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In the fall we returned to our first Pacific Northwest love, the island of San Juan, Washington.  No orca were to be found this trip, as they were forging for food elsewhere, but we encountered many other island creatures, like this Barred owl I spotted from the car window!

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And this Humpback along with it’s baby.  Just as exciting as seeing an orca! No, I didn’t spot this duo from the car window too, but from the comforts of Captain Jim’s whale watching boat!

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San Juan island is such a magical place.  Just being there feels as though you’ve left the real world behind.  It’s one of our happy places, or mine at least, and made even better when the Southern Resident orcas are present. Until next time…

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And now we wait for spring to turn into summer, for once more we’ll be on the move back east.   To the quaint Vermont capital of Montpelier!  The Chef was selected by the Coast Guard to return yet again to culinary school.  This time he’ll be in pursuit of a Bachelors degree in Culinary Arts from the New England Culinary Institute. He’ll be specializing in baking and pastry.

So in six years time, we’ve basically come full circle.  How about that.

2011>Culinary School>Paris>2012Maine>2013Texas>2014DC>2015Oregon>2017 Vermont Culinary School.

Let Them Eat Cake! Baby Pear Turns 1

I once read that when you have children, you as the parent become a child again.  I’d say that’s pretty much the truth.  I’m not going to deny that I’m not living out my childhood again through my daughter.  I know I am, and possibly living out my silly frivolous 18th century French princess fantasies through her as well.  She’s like my life-size baby doll that I tote around everywhere.

I actually had the theme of her first birthday in my mind the moment I found out she was going to be a girl, but it was really set in motion when she was about 2 months old and I saw this one particular “oh-so girly outfit” by a couture clothing company out of Australia named Dollcake.

So naturally, a Marie Antoinette “Let Them Eat Cake” party was an absolute must (even though MA never said that phrase, it was actually another queen way before her time).  I mean, there was no way around it.  It was going to be a scene straight out of the 2006 Sofia Coppola movie.  The only thing missing, which was really a huge deal, was Baby Pear’s dear Daddy, the Chef.  Via FaceTime, he was able to see the pastel prettiness and his little princess, but we all so wished he could have been there in person.  We’ve made a plan to recreated the party in a few weeks with one of Baby Pear’s BFF’s who happens to also be a May 2015 baby.

Let Them Eat Cake Party

I’d like to thank my very best BFF, Kerri, for the beautiful cakes.  I gave the girl a photo of a Sweetapolita cake from Pinterest and the chicka nailed it! If you don’t know Sweetapolita, then you need to.  Beautiful cake photos, a cookbook and even sprinkles that you can purchase on Etsy! Baby Pear’s cake has a combination of three Sweetapolita sprinkles.

Sweetapolita cake

I used Etsy to find the perfect cookies and macarons.  The cookies were the creation of The Fancy Lady Gourmet and the macarons were by Elle & Merced.  If the Chef had been home, he would have made his baby girl macarons, but he wasn’t so we had to find the next best option.  No Marie Antoinette party is complete without French macarons! Again, I was blown away by how spot-on they were when they arrived.

Eiffel tower birthday

The Chef’s Mama hosted the event in her new home and helped with the food preparations.  Guests enjoyed her signature sweet dough rolls that she had made into small deli sandwiches.  It was all washed down with homemade pink lemonade!

pink lemonade

And here’s the dollbaby! She’s not one for getting messy, so she carefully tasted the icing with her index finger….like a princess would do 😉 No cake smash for this girl.

Let them eat cake birthday party

Her fascinator birthday crown and bunting are by another talented Etsy shop owner, QueenieBabeBoutique.  I actually wanted one for myself.  ha!
Marie Antoinette birthday

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And the outfit that started this whole thing…  Bunny Kisses is its name! I’ve had it in her closet since she was 3 months old.  Just waiting for this moment…

dollcake bunny kisses outfit

Happy 1 year Little Pear!

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Vinegar and Spice and all things nice…wait what?

I believe the original rhyme goes “sugar and spice and all things nice.  That’s what little girls are made of.”  A popular 19th century nursery rhyme titled What are Little Boys Made Of?  
So what’s with the random rhyme?  Well Little Pear (who happens to be full of vinegar and spice as of late) and I made our way to downtown Astoria this afternoon for a meetup with our friends of the local Columbia River Babywearing Club.  The choice spot for our meeting, a visit to Pat’s Pantry, a locally sourced spice shop that carries unique blends of vinegars, gourmet salts, sugars, oils and condiments.  Right up The Traveling Pear’s alley.  Columbia River Babywearing Club
Our fearless Babywearing leader, Cristina (pictured with red scarf), had made arrangements for us Mommies to partake in a vinegar tasting session, complimented with cheese and bread.  Pat, the owner, demonstrated and discussed the various uses for these unique blends.  Many were served with mineral water and would have been quite nice over ice.  My favorite was the habanero mango…delish! This is one shop the Chef and I had yet to explore.  So glad Little Pear and I made the trip, even though she fussed her little head off, we still made the best of it.
Pat's Pantry Astoria Oregon

 

Pat's Pantry Astoria Oregon

sugar collage

Little Pear and I brought home a sampling of cooking salts…lavender, fleur de sel, french salt (which has herbs de Provence mixed within) and none other than the Chef’s favorite, truffle salt.  The sugars were calling my name as well.  Guess there’s always a next time!   
That’s all for now from the Pacific Northwest… 
Megler Bridge Astoria Oregon

Megler Bridge Astoria Oregon

xoxo,

TTP

Happy Blog Birthday New Year 2016

Just a quick post to wish everyone a belated Happy New Year!  It’s also The Traveling Pear’s 5th blog birthday.  I admit the posts have slowed considerably over the last two years, but not because we’ve tired of blogging.  We’re letting life just BE for the moment…and settling into our new lives as parents to our little pear.

mommy and daddy

So here’s to another year…may you live, love, laugh and enjoy life.  May you be blessed.   I know we sure are.

xoxo,

TTP

Want to get your hands on one of the Chef’s fav recipes?  Check out the December 2015 issue of the Taste of Home magazine…he’s there!

Taste o

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